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83 Hurtigruten Midnatsol Cruise Reviews

I don’t think I’ll ever do the Hurtigruten again. First it was very expensive, over 5000 kr per person for a 36 hour trip from Bergen to Trondheim going through Geiranger. We ordered the Arctic Superior room which was twice as ... Read More
I don’t think I’ll ever do the Hurtigruten again. First it was very expensive, over 5000 kr per person for a 36 hour trip from Bergen to Trondheim going through Geiranger. We ordered the Arctic Superior room which was twice as expensive as a standard room, but it just had a round port window. It was no better than standard rooms on a normal cruise ship. The Hurtigruten shouldn’t be thought of as a cruise ship, it’s more an expensive ferry boat. The worst was really the staff. Really very rude service people. I understand that due to the corona, I’m not allowed to touch anything, but since there were no signs about it and I’m trying to grab something myself since the service people are ignoring me or just very slow. Then they are quick to rip out whatever is in my hands citing the corona. I wouldn’t have minded as much if they just told me nicely, but they were all just rude and irritated. One woman told me to just drink the water from the tap in our room instead of using the water dispenser even if we were following all the instructions on how to use the dispenser properly. The only person who seemed to be kind and service oriented was Yousef in the dining room who was very polite and tried to accommodate us when possible. The guys at the internet center was nice too. Be aware that the food doesn’t come with the “cruise” as it usually does. It must be purchased separately and as with most things Norwegian, it’s expensive, but it at least tasted good. However, the cafe closes at 9 pm and after that, only prepackaged foods like chips are available for purchase. Then there’s nothing you can eat until breakfast the next day. Our arrival in Trondheim the next day was scheduled at 10 am so we were planning for that, but someone came into our room at 8:30 am to tell us our check out time was at 8 am and we must vacate our room and wait in the public area for 2 hours until we actually dock. I told them that this is absolutely unacceptable and it has been the worst experience, then someone came by as we’re packing up to say that we can stay until 10 as if they’re doing us a great favor by allowing us to use our own rooms until the ship actually docks on solid land. Even then, someone kept coming into our adjoining room to tell my kids to leave. Overall, it wasn’t worth the money and I’ve decided not to book our next trip up north with Hurtigruten and I will look into Viking cruises next time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2020
The whole experience from beginning to end was superb. We had been with Hurtigruten up the coast of Norway and so enjoyed it we wanted to do a longer cruise. Antarctica was our choice. We booked a suite and this did not disappoint. ... Read More
The whole experience from beginning to end was superb. We had been with Hurtigruten up the coast of Norway and so enjoyed it we wanted to do a longer cruise. Antarctica was our choice. We booked a suite and this did not disappoint. The advantages of the suite were many - breakfast in the a la carte restaurant, an invitation to eat in the a la carte restaurant in the evening, free mini bar until refilled, free laundry. An excursion ashore and a Cruise each day in a zodiac were exhilarating. The expedition staff were excellent with their knowledge and expertise and the organisation from collecting our boots to finding the right coach to leave was impeccable. The food was superb and the staff at all levels fantastic. We were extremely lucky with the weather and experiencing Antarctica in the sun is just glorious. We would hope highly recommend Hurtigruten. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We just got back from the 2019 “Christmas in the Antarctic with Penguins” on Hurtigruten’s Midnatsol. This is a review meant mostly to give upcoming travelers some tips you may not get elsewhere, but I’ll start by saying it was ... Read More
We just got back from the 2019 “Christmas in the Antarctic with Penguins” on Hurtigruten’s Midnatsol. This is a review meant mostly to give upcoming travelers some tips you may not get elsewhere, but I’ll start by saying it was absolutely fantastic. Great staff all around, very friendly and knowledgeable. Top ratings for food too, which I’d classify as a European menu with lots of variety. Very good fish, tasty meats, fresh breads and cakes every day and more fresh vegetables and fruit than we expected on a 15-day Antarctica itinerary. The coffee was NOT good, though. We brought Starbucks Via packets, which we used as a flavor booster. For $3, you can get a good espresso at the bar, but not in the dining room. There were only two days with fixed time seatings on the entire voyage. All the rest of the meals were buffet style with flexible timings. When you get to the ship, they will give you a Hurtigruten water bottle, so you don’t have to bring one. Their bottle is fine, but we used the ones we brought with us when going on shore. When we got to our rooms, we noticed there were no robes and no bath mat. The bathrobe rental fee is $11 for the whole trip, plus a $90 refundable deposit. You have to make the effort turn in the robe on the day of departure to get the deposit refunded to your account before you leave the ship. As for the bath mat, we found out that they’re “not hygienic,” but we did get an extra towel we could use for the purpose. Just don’t leave it on the floor when you leave the room, since everything on the floor gets collected and sent to the laundry. Speaking about the bathroom floor, it’s heated (use the Vermekabel switch to turn it on; it gets really warm, around 85 degrees f after 45 minutes or so). There is body soap/shampoo and hair conditioner in the shower. The shower head is adjustable in height, maybe two feet up/down. We found the small bathroom was well-designed and worked out fine. The small cabins are fine too, since you’re only in them to sleep and shower. Hurtigruten keeps you busy with hikes and zodiac cruises, usually two per day in our case (one shore drop-off and one zodiac cruise). During the voyage to Antarctica, you’ll have to vacuum any clothing and backpacks you’ll be taking on shore. That’s just done once. The boots they provide are sized using the European system (mine were 42, similar to a men’s size 9 in the US). They give you plenty of time to try on the boots and the waterproof hooded jackets (you keep the jacket at the end of the trip). If you don’t like the first size you picked, no problem, they’ll exchange it for another. The boots were surprisingly comfortable and you’re instructed to wear your waterproof pants over the boots (not tucked inside). They sell the pants and other high quality clothing items in the onboard shop, but the prices are pretty high and sizes somewhat limited, so it’s best to bring what you think you’ll need. If you want to buy some stuffed penguins to bring home, we found the ones in the ship’s shop were very nice and only slightly more expensive than what they sell in Ushuaia. Some other reviewers have commented on how warm the ship is. Definitely bring several short sleeve shirts and a light sweater; you won’t need warm clothing in the ship. Whether or not you’re prone to seasickness, the Drake Passage is some nasty water! We actually passed through a hurricane on the way back and got certificates for the achievement. So bring and use pills or a patch — or at least the things you wear on your wrists (Sea-bands). If you need the pills, you can buy them at the ship’s reception counter. Meclazine pills (same as Bonine) are one dollar. Well worth it! Be sure to take a pill before you start feeling sick. A slight headache is usually the first sign something’s up. Just a few more tips: all the outlets, except one in the bathroom built into the front of the hairdryer, are 220v Euro style plugs, so bring adapters for your phones, etc. Cell phone data service was OK, but spotty. We didn’t buy Wi-Fi so didn’t get the price, but most people who were using it thought is was on the slow side, especially at peak hours. The singer/piano player was great: Gil Silverbird, a really good entertainer who was on his first Antarctica voyage (he usually works the Hurtigruten Norway circuit). The crew really went out of their way to give us a good Christmas celebration, both American and European style. We learned a lot about how to celebrate Christmas in Norway! Oh, and laundry is very expensive (priced per piece) except as you get close to the end, when they have a one day only all-you-can-stuff in one bag special for $16. The self-serve laundromat on the ship is closed on long voyages, so their laundry service is the only one you can use in Antarctica. Re the included flights, the weight limit for carry on baggage is 17 lbs, which was only checked and enforced on the return leg at the Ushuaia airport (checked bag limit is 50 lbs). Note that the Ushuaia flights depart and arrive at the local Buenos Aires airport, not EZE international. To sum up, all-in-all it was a fantastic experience. One last point: It turns out the Midnatsol will be extensively updated in dry dock sometime in 2020-21 and will be rechristened with a new name. So, farewell, it was good to know ya! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Antarctica was on our bucket list for a long time. This was a beautiful and truly unspoiled nature. We loved Antarctica. The expedition was great but don’t book or plan to book the optional excursions unless you plan to be ... Read More
Antarctica was on our bucket list for a long time. This was a beautiful and truly unspoiled nature. We loved Antarctica. The expedition was great but don’t book or plan to book the optional excursions unless you plan to be disappointed. When we made our initial booking we were told we could book the optional excursions until the sailing date. Called 2 weeks later to book and were told had to be once we got to the ship and after rushing onboard to book were told to wait and hear a lecture and was a random lottery. Did not get any of our excursions we wanted after much anticipation and daily disappointments as the cabins of who was chosen were displayed. Did not register for camping because was told had to be at least 15 years old but on the night of camping we saw young kids age 9 and 11 go camping Finally got photo cruising last night and it was disaster and crew/staff didn’t care. Photographer was great and tried his best to make it nice but kept getting redirected from bridge and didn’t get any worthwhile time out of ship Left feeling like given misinformation and disappointed Landing are fantastic but time constrained. You will be on land for 1 hour a day approximately There are good lectures on board But seating is difficult There see not enough seats in the auditorium for everyone so get there early Dining- food was good but repetitive. The breakfast and lunch are exactly the same everyday of the trip. Meals are Buffett style and seats are limited at prime meal times Service was excellent. The crew went out of their way to make sure my teenagers had something to eat even if it was cooking just French fries only for them The lectures are the only activities on board. No show. No casino. Bring card games or books to enjoy during downtime Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise for the destination and itinerary and we were not disappointed. Every member of staff worked tirelessly to ensure we had the best experience possible. Whether we were first or last we noticed no difference in ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destination and itinerary and we were not disappointed. Every member of staff worked tirelessly to ensure we had the best experience possible. Whether we were first or last we noticed no difference in attitude or attentiveness of the zodiac drivers or the expedition team members, we were made to feel like we were the first passenger of the day each time. We were extremely pleasantly surprised with the service on board. It was always readily available but there was never any pressure to buy anything from drinks to photos! and drinks were very reasonably priced. Most meal services were buffet style with a very large choice of dishes, especially fish. Excursions were very well managed with our safety being paramount and also every care was taken to ensure no damage or disturbance was done to the environment and wildlife. It was very refreshing when compared to the many other cruises we have taken in the past. We would certainly recommend this cruise to anyone interested in exploring the wildness of Antartica. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this trip to Antartica as it gave us the experience of landing on the continent itself. We have been to Antartica three times before in cruise ships which were good but this time we wanted something extra. Hurtigruten ... Read More
We chose this trip to Antartica as it gave us the experience of landing on the continent itself. We have been to Antartica three times before in cruise ships which were good but this time we wanted something extra. Hurtigruten provided just what we wanted at a reasonable price and the overall package was excellent value. In total we had seven days on the peninsula and had two off boat excursions each day. All of which were included in the package. The trip was blessed with blue skies and above 0 c degree temperatures each day and Drake Passage was smooth both ways. We had plan A intinary every day. Being an expedition cruise the number off passengers was limited to around 350 so the ship was not crowded. Food was excellent. The crew were amazing and all seemed very happy in their work. Everything went like clockwork from day one. If you scheduled for a 10 am landing you got your 10am landing. No delays no worries. All down with safety and respect for the environment at all times. Expedition team were brilliant in all aspects. If you are thinking of going to Antartica this is the way to do it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The price was right and I knew Hurtigruten by reputation, from the cargo/postal route in Norway. I figured they would 'know their ice'. This cruise went further south than many others I researched (65 degrees south) and also ... Read More
The price was right and I knew Hurtigruten by reputation, from the cargo/postal route in Norway. I figured they would 'know their ice'. This cruise went further south than many others I researched (65 degrees south) and also allowed for zodiac landings and different ways to interact with the environment. I did not want to just cruise and not leave the ship. The Expedition Team consisted of 22 experts in their fields. I liked the idea of an 'expedition cruise' rather than a sightseeing only one. The ship was comfortable and with easy access to all areas. Sometimes it was a bit too warm inside but luckily I had summer clothes with me! Jackets, lanyards and waterbottles (all to keep) and expedition boots (on loan) were provided. I especially appreciated the excellent lighting in my cabin (613) - on many other ships I find reading difficult. The cabin was more spacious than I expected. The food was much better than expected but would have liked availability of muesli EVERY morning and more cooked vegetables with meals. However, salad and fresh fruit was always provided. Most meals were buffet style with open seating. The flexibility of the itinerary allowed for changing conditions. We were blessed with outstandingly good weather, so many opportunities for interacting with the environment were available to us: zodiac exploration, landings, canoeing, camping on ice, 'polar plunges', snowshoeing, participation in scientific research. Most people I spoke to were extremely happy with the amount of included zodiac cruises and landings and did not feel the need to sign up for additional excursions. The expedition team offered more informative lectures and events than my energy would allow me to attend. I regretted not signing up for some of the scientific research participation.The environment was pristine, silent (except for penguins), peaceful and amazing. There was a small gym, a sauna, a hot tub and a library available. We were also early enough in the season so the penguin-poop was not yet too extensive. T-shirts, jackets and a few other items in the shop were reduced on last two sea days. I thought this would be a once in a lifetime trip (partly because of the cost of accessing Antarctica) but it exceeded all my expectations I am feeling like i need to go back to experience other kinds of Antarctic weather and repeat the total experience. I would choose Hurtigruten again. But I will return early-ish in the season (by December) as I realise the value of less penguin-poop. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I choose this cruise after seeing an advert in the newspaper offering free flights to Argentina. This is a very expensive holiday, so anything to help with costs was gratefully received! Other passengers also responding to this advert. ... Read More
I choose this cruise after seeing an advert in the newspaper offering free flights to Argentina. This is a very expensive holiday, so anything to help with costs was gratefully received! Other passengers also responding to this advert. As an additional point re costs, as a solo traveller I was expected to pay an expensive single supplement, which is so, so tiresome. I took my daughter to share the experience with me. But not all travellers can afford to do this. I could not fault the ship, our cabin, the hospitality and expedition crew. All was superb and above expectations. The varied cuisine is prepared fresh each day. As an 'expedition-cruise' rather than 'cruise-cruise', there was not the usual karaoke entertainment. The expedition crew members where all highly experienced, skilled, knowledgeable and some highly educated. All were very friendly and approachable with a great sense of humour! There were daily lectures on all aspects of Antartica: from how penguins keep their feet warm to a brilliant presentation on climate change, that was neither dense, dusty or patronising. Lectures covered history, current treaties as well as animal, bird and plant life of the area. All were held in the comfortable lecture theatre and repeated due to high demand. Some of us took part in the Citizen Scientist programmes, such as taking samples of the life in the sea and measuring the density of the water in terms of plankton content. Believe me after this expedition you too will return feeling so well informed! My daughter initially hesitated to come as 'it was cold' and she liked sunny climates. However the weather was kind, the sun shone and the Drake Strait was a lake on the outward and return trip. With appetites whetted, both she and I now want to explore the area more by going to The Falklands and South Georgia. Finally this was my first cruise and travelling in a large group, we were 434 guests on board. This had an impact on the bottlenecks, such as getting on and off buses going to and from destinations and at the airport. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We sailed on the MS Midnatsol on Hurtigruten’s 13-day “Antarctica-Highlights of the Frozen Continent” expedition. It was the experience of a lifetime! Antarctica is an amazing, unique, and beautiful place. We were able to land at ... Read More
We sailed on the MS Midnatsol on Hurtigruten’s 13-day “Antarctica-Highlights of the Frozen Continent” expedition. It was the experience of a lifetime! Antarctica is an amazing, unique, and beautiful place. We were able to land at five different Antarctic locations (Half Moon Island, Orne Harbour, Danco Island, Necko Harbour and Demoy Point) and observe penguins, seals, whales and sea birds. All landings are dependent on the weather and ocean conditions and we were lucky that, except for one day with almost gale force winds, the weather was mild and the seas calm. The team worked hard so our five landings were a great success. I didn't realize that we would also have daily zodiac cruising to see the scenery up close, in addition to the landings. They were just as fun as the actual landings, and a lot easier physically and good photo ops. One day the ship travelled for hours to find a landing spot, in one bay there was so much ice the ship had to back out and in another area, an unexpected navy vessel (Chilean or Argentinian) prevented us from accessing the landing. They finally came through that afternoon and we were able to land. I booked this trip because it was the least expensive expedition cruise with landings that were comparable to much more expensive trips. I didn’t expect luxury, only an adventure, and that I got. I’m in my late 60s and not in the best of shape, but was able to hike uphill in the snow and climb in and out of the zodiacs. Boots and poles were provided. All of the staff went out of their way to make our voyage successful. The expedition leaders were knowledgeable, friendly and entertaining. The lectures were educational and timely. Besides the lectures on all things to do with Antarctica, one I particularly enjoyed was by one of the navigators who explained how they navigate in Antarctica’s icy waters. A tour of the bridge was scheduled on another day. The scientific lectures were fun and informative - who knew they had an underwater drone and that the underwater sea life was so diverse! The MS Midnatsol is a comfortable ship, easy to get around with many lounges to relax in. The vibe was casual, friendly and happy, how could it not be in such a beautiful location. There was a small store but everything went on sale the last two days. We had a L2 polar outside cabin, # 416 (two single beds, with two portholes). It was tiny but adequate and we really didn’t spend much time there. I am glad we paid the extra for the portholes. Though we were at the front of the ship, it was smooth sailing, quiet, and just a short walk to the zodiac meeting area. We spent most of our free time up on the lounge on deck nine at the front of the ship watching the beautiful scenery. It was quiet there most days, had easy access to the outside deck, and close to a bar and the free tea and coffee. I am a very finicky eater and don’t eat fish but I didn’t go hungry. We were onboard over Thanksgiving and an effort was made to serve roast turkey, but other than that, no chicken was seen but lots of pork, lamb, reindeer, a bit of beef, and fish, fish, fish. On the first seating while crossing Drake’s Passage, a delicious beef filet was served. The fresh fruit and salad bar were great. Don’t expect a typical cruise experience with bingo and entertainment. Bring a good book, playing cards or board games. I appreciated the mix of different nationalities on board, it was a very multi-cultural experience. One thing the staff did that was wonderful was prepare a website of our voyage with landing locations, maps, photographs, temperature and mileage, and information about the staff and crew that was available two weeks after we returned. I think 11 days was the perfect amount of time for seeing Antarctica. I’m so glad I was able to experience Antarctica first hand. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
It was a cruise from patagonia (south america) to the antarctic peninsula. The expedition team of the ship was extremely competent and helpful. Her lecture was well prepared, interesting and scientifically founded. Landings, or cruising ... Read More
It was a cruise from patagonia (south america) to the antarctic peninsula. The expedition team of the ship was extremely competent and helpful. Her lecture was well prepared, interesting and scientifically founded. Landings, or cruising with the Zodiacs were very well prepared. Safety has always been a top priority on the ship, landing and cruising with the Zodiacs. Special boots for the landings were provided by Hurtigruten, as well as weatherproof jackets. The food in the normal restaurant was very good at all times of the day. There was also an a la carte restaurant. Non-alcoholic drinks were free and could also be brought from a self-service bar. Every service on board was very good. There was always written information about the daily program. The protection of the environment was very important to all crewmembers. Everything was done to protect the animals and the landscape from the tourists during landings. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Bottom line up front: Avoid Hurtigruten Cruises (and any of their ships including the Midnatsol) if your aim is to go on a "once in a lifetime" type journey. You will probably be disappointed. We traveled on the Midnatsol in ... Read More
Bottom line up front: Avoid Hurtigruten Cruises (and any of their ships including the Midnatsol) if your aim is to go on a "once in a lifetime" type journey. You will probably be disappointed. We traveled on the Midnatsol in Oct-Nov 2019 for a Southern Hemisphere Adventure cruise that was supposed to take us from Montevideo (Uruguay) to Patagonia, Falklands and Antarctica before returning to Ushuaia (Argentina). Everything was booked through Hurtigruten travel based in Seattle, WA, a year in advance (Aug 2018). Hurtigruten still managed to mess up majorly in several ways! In this post I'll detail several things they did that spoiled what was supposed to be a memorable vacation. Context: This was booked as a once in a lifetime experience for my 70-year old mother and me. My mother suffers from a rare and terminal illness which is currently managed and expressed a desire to see the frozen continent before it was too late. First the acceptable aspects of the cruise: 1. The hotel in Montevideo was acceptable and the arrangements and tour overseen by Thesan Travel during our one night and half-day stay in Montevideo prior to boarding the ship were excellent. 2. Specific members of the dining staff on Midnatsol (head waiter; three members of the wait staff) went above and beyond, even helping to carry laden plates and soup bowls in the dining room when the ship was bouncing in the Drake Passage. 3. The first half of the cruise from Montevideo to Puerto Madryn (Argentina) to 3 Falkland Island locations was acceptable. Not great, not good, but defintely acceptable. We couldn't complain about value for money spent because we got, in effect what we'd paid for (or were expecting to see based on Hurtigruten's marketing hype and representations). 4. Some members of the Expedition Team (which is what Hurtigruten calls the tour guides/ shore excursion leaders on board who lead daily lectures on Antarctic and local history, flora, fauna, environment, geography etc. and oversee shore landings) were good. A historian named was exceptional- well informed, amusing, engaging. Two biologists were good. The Norwegian photographer was great. (And then there were some truly terrible expedition members- and they were in the majority!)Note that Hurtigruten's ships have no casinos or nightly entertainment. Their "pools" are limited to two hot tubs on the top deck. They claim instead to have a Science lab (not worth the name) and the aim of the "expeditions" to the Arctic and the Antarctic is to give the guests a chance to commune with nature while preserving the environment to the greatest extent possible, so the lectures on board while at sea and while anchored in remote harbors are an important part of the experience as advertised. We knew all this prior to booking the cruise and chose the cruise for exactly these reasons. Now the long list of negatives. 1. Airline bookings: As mentioned previously, we booked this trip in August 2018, more than a year before the planned cruise. Part of the reason for that was that Hurtigruten ran a special in the Washington Post, advertising a free airfare deal to and from the cruise. Here is where I first say BUYER BEWARE! This was an expensive cruise- $20K + not including insurance. We checked the prices for the cruise about 60 days before sailing and surprise, surprise, the prices were down, just about the cost of round trip airfare! So the "free airfare" turned out of be an illusion, but as everyone knows, cruise prices can change (and usually fall) close to the departure date so we weren't complaining. What did get us steamed though was that Hurtigruten had booked us via the cheapest option available to them, on LATAM for all 5 segments of our air travel. Too many things went wrong on LATAM. See my post: Avoid LA(trine) TAM at all costs! on TripAdvisor for more details. 2. Hotels and Travel Arrangements: Hurtigruten had booked us into Hotel Emperador Buenos Aires (supposedly 5-star) for 1 night post-cruise as part of the cruise payment. Also included were travel arrangements (airport transfers via cab/bus etc). Hotel Emperador in Buenos Aires was terrible (See my post: Horrible service! Avoid if you can. re. Emperador) and all representatives of Thesan Travel in Argentina were useless. Too many terrible experiences to list. 3. Food and Housekeeping on board ship: We had notified Hurtigruten of specific dietary requirements and allergies (Vegetarian, allergic to all fish etc) a year in advance and reiterated this in our profile information forms requested by Hurtigruten 60 days before sailing. To our surprise we found on embarkation that the Hurtigruten dining staff had no knowledge of these dietary restrictions. The left hand truly doesn't know what the right hand is doing on Hurtigruten ships! The saving grace was that a quick chat with the head waiter resolved most issues and we were able to generally get our dietary requirements accommodated. But if you have dietary restrictions, BEWARE! Hurtigruten is all about seafood. If you have seafood allergies, don't expect any special treatment. Breakfast was fine for the first few days; after that the monotony of the EXACTLY same menu each morning (greasy sausages, a rubbery fried egg with a single strip of toy like bacon!) begins to wear on guests on a 20+ day cruise. If you don't eat seafood (which they trot out at every meal, including breakfast) your choices become more limited. Lunch is usually buffet style and had a fair variety though not always for vegetarians. Dinners were a mix of buffets and sit down semi-formals, (although Hurtigruten never requires dressing up for dinners given their expedition style cruises- jeans and boots are welcome in the dining areas). The lack of decent vegetarian options and the focus on seafood is somewhat troubling. We had a chicken option at maybe 3 meals during the entire 20+ day cruise. It was mostly beef and some pork along with tons of seafood during the cruise. Regarding housekeeping on board, I'll simply say: WHAT HOUSEKEEPING? The beds were frequently unmade, the trash frequently not emptied, the cabin frequently not vacuumed, the sugar for coffee usually not refilled and the bed linen was never laundered for the duration of the cruise! One other point re. Hurtigruten's misleading statements. These is a laundry on board and guests are given to understand that it is a self-service laundry that can be used by them. That is certainly true, but only on Norwegian coastal cruises! On expedition cruises to Antarctica, the laundry is closed off to guests and Hurtigruten has you over a barrel and charges exorbitant rates ($33 for 10 pieces of laundry). Luggage is restricted by weight owing to charter flight weight restrictions booked by Hurtigruten, so laundry is usually a necessity at least once in the trip. 4. Incompetent Crew and Expedition Staff on board ship: The crew are an indifferent lot. The front desk lies... a lot. Post cards sent from Montevideo pre-departure which were to be mailed by the ship's agent (for which they charged us 34 Norwegian Kroner) are still to arrive, more than 60 days later. The crew messed up our names on the "certificates" awarded to passengers post-cruise and argued that they got the names from our passports- when a simple read of the passports would show that they'd got the names wrong. The passports are kept in the crews custody when embarking and returned to passengers at disembarkation, with the crew responsible for getting all necessary immigration stamps from the places visited. I'm not the only person to run into trouble here: a fellow passenger, a Frenchman, posted his own horrible experience with this Hurtigruten cruise on the Hurtigruten Insiders Forum on Facebook where he talks about how the crew did not get the necessary immigration stamps on his passport and lied and said they had, so that at Buenos Aires airport he was detailed at immigration and made to pay a fine before being allowed to depart to Paris! For those who choose Hurtigruten because of their so called Antarctic friendly policies- BEWARE! That was partly my motivation too. But I've seen oil sheens from the ship's bow thruster area spread across the pristine waters of Deception Bay in the South Shetlands, seen the crew of the RHIB/Zodiacs used to ferry passengers to and from shore landings do silly things and be unable to safely bring their boats aboard and seen Zodiacs outboards that overheated and created problems in the Falklands. DON"T believe Hurtigruten's marketing about their environment friendly policies. On other posts I've read about Hurtigruten dumping raw sewage into Antarctic waters. I cannot say that happened on our cruise but I can say, similar to other experiences posted on cruise critics for instance, that there was a stink in our Arctic Superior Outside cabins that suddenly disappeared as we left Antarctic waters, which might support a theory of sewage dumping. Regarding Expedition Staff, they're a mix of nationalities and don't always speak English well. Some as I've noted above, are good or even great. They are in the minority. Most are indifferent, with some truly terrible folks. One lady would lose her head if it wasn't firmly on- she's so hare brained. She's supposed to be a marine biologist but can't give a coherent presentation or handle basic presentation technology. She also failed to return to us for more than 24 hours a phone that had been dropped on a shore excursion and retrieved by another passenger and given to her for return to the Lost and Found. Indeed when we went straight to her and asked her about it, her first reaction was that she'd been given no such phone. Only when her memory was refreshed did she acknowledge the event and retrieve the phone. I don't think this was malicious, but she is HUGELY SCATTERBRAINED! Another team member, a Czech was rude, opinionated, dismissive and disruptive. He doesn't speak English too well but imagines that he does. He frequently went into long monologues about his life living with dog-teams in Svalbard and how everyone else's life was worthless unless they did the same! 5. Outright LIES by Hurtigruten: As I've noted, the cruise from Montevideo to Puerto Madryn to 3 Falkland Island location, if not great, was acceptable. After the Falklands, the ship was scheduled to visit Antarctica, which was naturally the highlight of the trip. After the first Antarctic vist to Half Moon Island in the South Shetlands, the cruise was a disaster from our perspective- and that of several other passengers who have expressed their "disappointment," "disgust," and "outrage" directly to Hurtigruten and on other forums. After the visit to Half Moon Island we were informed that on the next morning our ship, the Midnatsol would meet another Hurtigruten ship, the Roald Amundsen to supposedly witness the "christening" of the latter ship in Antarctic waters. This event was not listed on our itinerary; in fact the passengers were given less than 18 hours advance notice of this event. It was sold as " a historic event" and an opportunity to witness "the christening of Hurtigruten's newest ship." After this "christening" Midnatsol was supposed to proceed independently to Orne Harbor on the Antarctic peninsula and make a landing there at 2:00 pm that afternoon, followed by an overnight camping trip on the peninsula (which I had won via a lottery). Midnatsol was also scheduled to do small boat cruising in Orne Harbor the rest of the day, after which we were to depart northwestwards to journey across the Drake Passage to Ushuaia. As it actually turned out the Amundsen "christening" was a great PR affair for Hurtigruten. Some passengers on Midnatsol were quite taken with the ceremony, the free drinks, and the speeches! But Roald Amundsen had been sailing the ocean for some 9-odd months under that very name as of that date. Such ships don't get "christened." At best they get re-christened- which as any sailor will tell you is considered bad luck for that ship :-)! Neither I nor any of the several other passengers with any familiarity with nautical traditions were taken in by the ceremony. We lost more than half a day of the Antarctic part of our voyage to this stunt. When we finally left the christening we were informed by the expedition operations manager/leader, over the PA system- not in person- that heavy ice at Orne Harbor meant a change in plan. Midnatsol would move over to Chiriguano Bay, adjacent to the bay we'd been in all morning, and commence small boat cruising in the afternoon. Also, our landing at Orne Harbor on the Antarctic continent was cancelled as was overnight camping. Naturally a large number of passengers were disappointed at the loss of a landing on the continent. It was doubly disappointing to those of us who hoped to camp on the continent. At the evening lecture some passengers tried to discuss their disappointment with the day's events, the time lost to the "christening" and the inadequate "45-minute" Zodiac boat cruise weighed against the loss of a day's Antarctic itinerary but the expedition leader was completely dismissive. In accordance with your "Terms and Conditions" for resolving disputes, I personally suggested several alternatives. I asked if we could not make a continental landing at an ice-free location further northeast on the peninsula. I was told only certain sites were open for landings with no further information on what those sites might be. I suggested that we try to share or split a location known to be ice free with another ship, possibly from another company, with the understanding that these things happen and that Hurtigruten might return the favor in the future. Again I was told that IAATO rules forbid such arrangements and that reservations for site landings had to be made 72 hours in advance. At no time did Hurtigruten provide any details. At this point the majority of us were disappointed and frustrated but we understood that bad luck happens. We knew when we signed up for the trip that weather or other conditions might preclude our landings and that the Captain was the final authority given his responsibility for the safety of the ship, passengers and crew. That night Midnatsol made her way 123 NM northwards back to Deception Island (a most prescient name, as later events proved!) in the South Shetlands, right next to Half Moon Island which we'd previously visited. Indeed we'd sailed inside the caldera of Deception Island as we headed south to meet Roald Amundsen. We spent all of November 8 at Deception Island and departed at about 5 pm to head back for the Drake Passage crossing. I noticed that the ship was cruising especially slowly and as late as 8 pm that night we were still within viewing distance of Deception Island. The Captain's update on the PA system at about 9 am on November 9 confirmed this. We had covered a whopping 68 nautical miles in about 16 hours since departing Deception Island, crawling along at a little more than 4 knots. Midnatsol made an uneventful crossing of the Drake Passage on November 9 and November 10 averaging between 13 and 14 knots per Hurtigruten's own bridge logs. We were scheduled to disembark at Ushuaia at approximately 7 am on the morning of November 11. Instead we were tied up alongside at 7 pm on the evening of November 10, about 12 hours in advance of our intended arrival. Back on land, and with unfettered access to the internet, we started getting some interesting information about the Roald Amundsen. We noted that the Amundsen (a PC6 ice class ship, not appreciably different from the 1X class assigned to Midnatsol, which Hurtigruten plays up in their marketing as "ice-capable" ships for Arctic and Antarctic cruising!) had supposedly "broken through the ice at Orne Harbor on November 8" made landings on the Antarctic continent and according to some reports, camped overnight there too! We saw several pictures of Orne Harbor on social media on those days, remarkably ice free! Several of us started asking- weren't WE supposed to be at Orne Harbor the morning of November 8- to pick up the overnight campers and to do small boat cruising the rest of the day? If IAATO required advance notice, how had Amundsen got Midnatsol's spot? If that was our spot and it was ice free why weren't we told so we could make a continental landing? In light of all this, in our opinion, in were lied to by the expedition leader and the Captain of the Midnatsol. This opinion was bolstered further by emails from Hurtigruten UK to some similarly outraged British passengers, in which Hurtigruten says that the MV Sea Spirit (a ship from another cruise company) had tried to land at Orne Harbor earlier that morning, but because of ice elected to do a small boat cruise instead... two miles off Orne Harbor! On our return from the cruise we contacted Hurtigruten US with our concerns and complaints regarding this phase of the cruise. (Note Hurtigruten US seems to be more responsive that Hurtigruten UK- we got a reply within 48 hours from a person named Walters, who at least listened to some of our concerns and offered to refund one day of the voyage due to the day wasted on the unplanned christening. Hurtigruten UK customers got no response for weeks and then there was no talk of any refund although some of those passengers may plan to go to British newspapers to publicize their concerns). Some of the questions we posed directly to Hurtigruten US were: If IAATO regulations do in fact require advance reservations, was MS Midnatsol ever going to make a landing on the Antarctic continent? Or was all this always reserved for Roald Amundsen? Did 340+ of their paying customers get bumped in favor of Hurtigruten's CEO and the press corps on the Amundsen so Hurtigruten could try for a PR coup? Why were our suggestions on alternatives ignored when we in fact had plenty of time to explore alternative sites as shown by the time wasted on November 8-9, our slow cruise back across the Drake Passage and our early arrival at Ushuaia? We heard later from an expedition team member that we actually trust that Midnatsol NEVER goes below the Antarctic Circle, lands on the Antarctic continent only rarely and then late in the season (Feb, Mar) and usually does these landings on the South Shetland Islands and passes them off as the Antarctic experience. From our perspective, we wasted 2 of our 3 scheduled days in Antarctica and lost a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to land on the Antarctic continent because of what looks like terrible communication by Hurtigruten (at best) or outright fraud committed by Hurtigruten's agents (at worst). In our opinion the truth is situated somewhere on that spectrum. It is a great pity that a company that we believed to be reputable has turned out not to be so, in our experience. We received unsatisfactory responses to most of these questions but took the one day refund in an attempt to salvage something from this, although Hurtigruten agreed that we could write candidly about our experiences to anyone and post on any forum we chose. BEWARE HURTIGRUTEN! NOT WORTH IT. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The Southbound cruise from Kirkenes to Bergen was absolutely fantastic! This was our first cruise experience and Hurtigruten ticked all the boxes. We participated in many of the excursions available on the way down the majestic west ... Read More
The Southbound cruise from Kirkenes to Bergen was absolutely fantastic! This was our first cruise experience and Hurtigruten ticked all the boxes. We participated in many of the excursions available on the way down the majestic west Norwegian coastline. The onboard Expedition Team presented engaging and informative preludes to each day’s activities and a special thanks to Asluk who was an excellent storyteller (speaking English, Norwegian and German). We would thoroughly recommend this cruise for anyone doing Cruising 101 and the more seasoned traveller. Hurtgruten have been doing these Norwegian Coastal cruises for a long time and their organisational management for all passengers was exemplary. Ongoing information by the crew as we travelled South was appreciated and the celebration when we traversed the Arctic Circle was great, albeit somewhat moving after taking the Codliver Oil. The off vessel excursions offered during the voyage were all very enjoyable, professionally managed and easily done. We joined six off vessel excursions of which the midnight concert in the Artic Cathedral was the standout. The food onboard was excellent providing large buffet breakfast and lunch and 3-course sit down dinner in the evening. A lot of great seafood, but only what you would expect and hope for in Norway. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage (Bergen>Kirkenes>Bergen) 30 July – 10 August MS Midnatsol Overall a very good but also memorable trip – however, it was memorable for the wrong reason. Malfunction/break down of ... Read More
Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage (Bergen>Kirkenes>Bergen) 30 July – 10 August MS Midnatsol Overall a very good but also memorable trip – however, it was memorable for the wrong reason. Malfunction/break down of machinery/equipment on ships impacts adversely, to a greater or lesser extent, on passengers. The ship operating company, in this case, Hurtigruten, can be judged by how they deal with such situations. The voyage of MS Midnatsol was due to arrive in Bergen on 10 August. On the penultimate evening there was an electricity failure affecting the cabins and air conditioning which, we were told an hour or so later, had been repaired. On the morning of the final day we found we were docked at Alesund and were informed that the onward cruise to Bergen (our final destination) was cancelled. One would have thought Hurtigruten, as a long and very experienced operator, would handle the situation quickly and efficiently. In reality, it was a nightmare. There was a complete lack of information as to how passengers would be taken to Bergen. We were repeatedly told by the staff that they were waiting for Hurtigruten HQ to inform them of solutions. If there was a leader handling the case on the ship, it was not evident. The Captain was neither seen nor heard at any time. The staff were evasive, disorganized and, sometimes, offhand in handling passenger queries. It was not until the late afternoon of the final day we were informed that coaches, departing at different times, would take us to Bergen. A meeting was convened with all passengers concerned to give details of this. The meeting descended into chaos, as the staff responsible created confusion and even panic situations as they disseminated the information on the coach departures. Throughout the day, the staff repeatedly said they worked very hard to get passengers to Bergen – I have no reason to doubt that – but it was the amateurish way the whole matter was dealt with by Hurtigruten and their staff that made a bad situation worse. We are not aware of an official apology being made for the inconvenience caused. Eventually, more by luck and persistence on our part rather than by good management on the part of Hurtigruten, we boarded a coach which departed at 17.45 for the journey from Alesund to Bergen with each passenger given a bag containing a sandwich, an apple and a bottle of water. After dropping passengers off at a number of hotels in central Bergen we eventually reached the airport at approx. 03.30, too late to check into the airport hotel we had booked, as we had to check in for our early morning flight at 04.00. A great pity that what was otherwise a very good holiday was soured by this traumatic experience on the final day. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were booked on this ship by our Fjord Tours’ “Norway in the Nutshell “ package. So we didn’t really have a choice on the ship or more importantly, the cabin types and size. We were a family of 4 and we got 2 non-adjacent ... Read More
We were booked on this ship by our Fjord Tours’ “Norway in the Nutshell “ package. So we didn’t really have a choice on the ship or more importantly, the cabin types and size. We were a family of 4 and we got 2 non-adjacent cabins. So our children’s cabin are away from ours. How the hell does that happen? To make it worse, the cabins were disgusting. They were so small, I think I have seen prison cells on TV that are bigger and nicer. The A/C was non-functional, so it was so hot inside. The beds were tiny and separate. And the window was rather small, so you can forget about enjoying the fjords or whatever. Also, get ready to be transported to 1990s, where you have to pay for WiFi. After all the marketing from Hurtigruten that this is the best cruise trip in the world, they make you pay for WiFi. This is year 2019 - who the hell pays for WiFi. Even the lady at the reception agreed that this was such a ridiculous fee to charge. Breakfast service are also unfortunately borderline inedible. They didn’t have omelette station or made to order service, so we tried the scrambled eggs and they were weird tasting and had a very dark yellow color to it. Everything else was just average. Lastly, we thought the service from a few staff members were very questionable. They were a bit rude and condescending to us. Especially the 2 older white ladies who seemed to treat other white people much differently than us non-whites. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The parts of the Norwegian Hurtigruten adventure consept function well together: Beautiful nature, local culture and food, lot of points of interest along the Norwegian coastline, interesting lectures and expeditions, solid service with a ... Read More
The parts of the Norwegian Hurtigruten adventure consept function well together: Beautiful nature, local culture and food, lot of points of interest along the Norwegian coastline, interesting lectures and expeditions, solid service with a smile, thorough cleaning and safe hygiene. Our expectations were more than met. The cruise of the Norwegian Hurtigruten along the Norwegian coastline from the historic city Bergen on the West Coast to the city of Kirkenes at the Russian border is unique in reality and variety: The well known Norwegian long, deep, narrow fjords with steep mountains and waterfalls, historic places with traces several thousand years back. The Coastal Cruiseline Hurtigruten makes the best possible use of the unique local nature and culture: Great variety of local dishes made from food delivered from chosen producers along the long coastline, a lot of culture and nature expeditions in by foot, rib boat, cayak and bus - in partnership with local entrepreneurs, interesting lectures on relevant topics. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We decided to travel with the Hurtigruten because we have heard how the coastal journey was an amazing experience, and it definitely exceeded our expectations! From amazing service to beautiful scenery, this is the perfect way to enjoy the ... Read More
We decided to travel with the Hurtigruten because we have heard how the coastal journey was an amazing experience, and it definitely exceeded our expectations! From amazing service to beautiful scenery, this is the perfect way to enjoy the beauty of Norway. I’ve travelled Norway by railway before, but sailing really allows you to see so much more! Highly recommended for those looking to rest and unwind and admire the beautiful scenery. The food spread was good too, and the seafood were relatively fresh. Excursions were pricey, but would recommend going for the Geirangerfjord tour during summer, and the North Cape as well. I thoroughly enjoyed the excursions, and appreciated how there was also lectures onboard the cruise. I chose a Polar Inside cabin, which was small but clean and cosy. Do note that when you travel during summer, the weather can get really cold, so it’s importang to have a windbreaker! Definitely traveling with the Hurtigruten on my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Formidable crew and itinary, so beautiful things seen in a week. We appreciated especially the diversity of different harbours visited. The fact of using tender boats in certain harbours was an appreciated experience. The first stop was ... Read More
Formidable crew and itinary, so beautiful things seen in a week. We appreciated especially the diversity of different harbours visited. The fact of using tender boats in certain harbours was an appreciated experience. The first stop was in Heligoland and it enabled us to see from less than a meter some sea birds such like Gannets (Fous de Bassan) it was it was incredible. We also appreciated the values of Hurtigruten as a company : it puts security and Nature at the center of everything and we felt quite involved. The fact of giving some red vests and reusable bottles at the beginning of the cruise was also a very good surprise and we will keep them as a useful souvenir. Only point on our side is the price of proposed excursion, but visiting cities by ourselves was allready quite fine. It was the first cruise for us but for sure not the last with Hurtigruten Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
They focus on nature and making a difference. I don't like cities on water. I don't like nightclubs and casinos. I like focus on nature, stillness, away from the city. Of the beaten track. Hurtigruten offers this. I like to leave ... Read More
They focus on nature and making a difference. I don't like cities on water. I don't like nightclubs and casinos. I like focus on nature, stillness, away from the city. Of the beaten track. Hurtigruten offers this. I like to leave a small carbon footprint when travelling. I enjoy travelling with older people or retired people. They make for better conversation. The group on this trip was smaller and it made the ship less crowded. The shore activities were great but quite costly. Dining was good with a good buffet and menu in the evenings. The ship does not include wifi and I did not know this beforehand. It cost NOK 1600 for wifi throughout the cruise. It was an unforeseen cost. There should be more clarity on that . I also prefer an all inclusive full board which should include tips etc. No surprises. I loved the entertainment. It was heartfelt and interesting Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
To visit Antarctica and see penguins in their natural habitat. We saw all this and more... Several species of penguin, whales, seals, various seabirds; majestic landscapes of snow-covered mountains and icebergs from small to one that ... Read More
To visit Antarctica and see penguins in their natural habitat. We saw all this and more... Several species of penguin, whales, seals, various seabirds; majestic landscapes of snow-covered mountains and icebergs from small to one that was over 1km long. From arriving at the ship the service was excellent. The crew in all departments are fantastic. Checking in, being fitted for the rubber boots needed for landing, receiving a jacket and re-usable water bottle - which were ours to keep at the end of the cruise. Daily sheets posted the night before giving all the details you needed about what time your landings or cruising would be, the timings of other activities such as the lectures. The variety and interest of these were excellent. There were regular updates and time reminders over the tannoy system. We were very fortunate with the weather, the Drake Passage was pretty calm in both directions and we had sunshine and relatively mild temperatures and could fully appreciate the beauty and splendour of this remarkable place. All landings and cruisings were included, these were well-organised and managed efficiently and with our safety in mind. There were some optional activities available such as, kayaking, snowshoeing and a night under canvas Amundsen-style. These, as with all the outdoor activities, were weather and sea ice dependent. There were extra excursions available pre- and post- cruise. This cruise ran over Christmas and New Year and there was charming entertainment provided by several of the guests as well as the crew, every evening the resident entertainer sang and played the piano in the bar. Please note: this is not a "holiday" cruise, so people shouldn't go thinking there'll be partying and lots of entertainment. This is an Adventure. The joy was going out on deck at sunrise, sunset and throughout the day and taking in the wonder of this majestic place. Sitting with your travel companions and other passengers and marvelling at what we'd been so fortunate to see that day. The ship was kept clean and tidy in all areas, quite a challenge with the kit that we had to wear. The dining choices were excellent at all meals, hot beverages and drinking water were available at any hour from the beverage stations. Hot tea and drinking water was set up for us to have when we came in from the landings and cruisings - perfect to warm and rehydrate. Many thanks to the whole crew of MS Midnatsol and my fellow passengers. This cruise not only met but exceeded ten-fold all hopes and expectations. If I could I would definitely go to Antarctica again, and certainly travel with Hurtigruten. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Wanted a smaller and affordable trip to Antarctica. It was important to be able to hike on the islands and mainland continent and to go on zodiac rides to see wildlife and icebergs! We took can from airpory, easy to do, We met up with ... Read More
Wanted a smaller and affordable trip to Antarctica. It was important to be able to hike on the islands and mainland continent and to go on zodiac rides to see wildlife and icebergs! We took can from airpory, easy to do, We met up with staff at hotel in Buenos Aires to get flight information to Ushuaia, early breakfast and bus ride to airport, thank goodness there was Hurtigruten staff guiding us though airport. Flying into Terre del Fuego was beautiful! So glad we had some time in Ushuaia, it is a really quaint place, worth taking a stroll around. We settled into our interior room easily, nothing fancy but clean, neat, and all we needed cause we planned on being outside as much as possible! Rubber boots, parkas, water bottles distributed, by group we were divided into! Easy to follow instructions! The scenery was amazing, crossing The Drake was fairly calm and we had a lot of sunny days and only one day where we just weathered out a storm! We had zodiac landings 5 different places and zodiac cruising also. We were on land usually 1 1/2 hrs at a time. The crew would go first and mark a trail and flag areas that we needed to avoid. They provided hiking poles and we trekked to penguin rookeries! Every landing was fun, penguins, skuas, the scenery was breathing minute by minute! This is what we were here to experience! Polar Plunge at Deception Island! They provided towels and put you on next zodiac for the boat! This is a must do experience! Captain and crew did a great job, keeping us safe in a bad weather day and ensuring we put our feet on mainland Antarctica! Expedition team great! we didn't do any kayaking or snowshoe excursions! Our room steward Clarence, took great care of us, dining room staff was great. Food was good and a different variety, enjoyed trying new dishes. You won't see the variety or quantity that is on larger ships but it was good. Lots of fish and more lamb dishes than I'm used to. The best dessert was a fruit crumble! I had read some reviews and was very pleased with The Midnastol, she is lovely, light and bright! Lots of public areas to sit and watch scenery. Coffee, teas and snacks always available! Great walking deck, we spent a lot of time out here!! Disembark was also easy. We got the early flight back to Buenos Aires since we had a 9 on flight home and took a cab to the international airport, we had plenty of time. It was everything I wanted it to be with a cherry on top! Absolutely amazing journey, unforgettable trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Great trip to Antartica. Lots of landings, and during travel lots of lectures to fill time. All the staff was super friendly and knowledgeable and went above and beyond to be helpful and make sure everyone's needs were met! The ... Read More
Great trip to Antartica. Lots of landings, and during travel lots of lectures to fill time. All the staff was super friendly and knowledgeable and went above and beyond to be helpful and make sure everyone's needs were met! The food was excellent, mostly buffet style with a few seated dinners. Although there were few vegetarian options. This is not a "normal" cruise. No pool (although a "polar" hot tub and indoor sauna and small fitness room) or bingo nights, people were there to see Antartica and learn about Antartica. Due to the weather in Antartica, the excursions and landings can be unpredictable and the schedule changes a lot, but the crew worked really hard to make sure that we did some incredible things and saw lots of penguins and other wildlife. The cabin was tiny, but there was so much to see that I didn't want to spend a lot of time in there anyway. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Finally I got to meet penguins!! The ultimate cruise experience have to be withHurtigruten to Antarctica. MS Midnatsol is a cozy small ship that really fits in this area. All the staff onboard are very service minded and the Explorer ... Read More
Finally I got to meet penguins!! The ultimate cruise experience have to be withHurtigruten to Antarctica. MS Midnatsol is a cozy small ship that really fits in this area. All the staff onboard are very service minded and the Explorer team are just fantastic! Even the ship is getting a bit old, the atmosphere is great. Excellent food and service. Even the passengers are from all over the world, you can feel the Norwegian spirit. Most of the shore excursions are included, but if you want to do something extra, you can go kayaking and overnight tenting. I do recommend both! Before the cruise, you can stay in Buenos Aires for one or more nights. It is a beautiful city. Then you fly to Ushuaia.It takes 3,5 hours down from Buenes Aires. After cruising all over the world with different cruiseliners, I will say this is so far no 1 cruise!! Thank you MS Midnatsol and Hurtigruten! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Having already done a Hurtigruten Norway expedition hiking cruise (and loved it) I didn't hesitate to travel with Hurtigruten again when it came to going to Antarctica. I knew they would offer a more authentic experience, which is ... Read More
Having already done a Hurtigruten Norway expedition hiking cruise (and loved it) I didn't hesitate to travel with Hurtigruten again when it came to going to Antarctica. I knew they would offer a more authentic experience, which is what I wanted. From start to finish it was an awesome voyage. It began with a one-night stay in Buenos Aires in a very well and centrally located hotel. Then the next morning we flew to Ushuaia - known as the southernmost city in the world. The transfers from the hotel to the airport were smooth and in Ushuaia we were given an included free tour and then had free time before we boarded the ship, which I really enjoyed/appreciated. Midnatsol was much smarter than the ship I sailed on in Norway. Although Midnatsol is an expedition ship, it has an atrium with an elevator like the bigger liners - the Hurtigruten ship I sailed on in Norway wasn't comparable. My cabin was fine - it was a polar outside for two people. It was perfectly comfortable/functional - it is NOT posh - The first two days were spent at sea, crossing the infamous Drake Passage - the sea which separates south America from Antarctica. I'm not going to lie. There's a reason this sea is infamous. It can get choppy. Items were literally flying off the shelves onto me as I lay in bed! So if you suffer from sea sickness be sure to take with pills/bands etc - although there were pills available (and very effective too) to buy on board, and they were inexpensive too. But the expedition lectures were a great distraction and extremely enriching. I learned so much - about wildlife, geology, explorers, penguins, climate change, whales/whaling etc. Fascinating. And then as we got closer to Antarctica there were albatrosses and whales to spot from on deck - and even the occasional penguin - just awesome. During those two days everyone gets some boots to wear outside in Antarctica (compulsory as they clean them once you get back so that no germs are being taken onto the 7th continent) and picks up a red expedition jacket you get to keep - I really liked mine. You can see me wearing it in the video links below. It's waterproof and windproof and I wore my other jacket undernearth it. There are only 6 days where you actually get out on land and regulations dictate that only 100 people are allowed on land at a time, which means you have to take turns (the ship carries 500 passengers) and you're only on land for about 2 hours at a time. But then you can enjoy the scenery from on the ship - the two hot tubs on top deck are a great vantage point! And also you might be on land in the morning and then cruising in the zodiac boats (which are small inflatable crafts used to take you from Midnatsol to land) around icebergs for the afternoon. I must mention that itineraries are loose and weather dependent. The expedition team always has a plan A and if the weather (wind and ice are the biggest culprits) prevent that from happeneing they move onto plan B and so on.... This is where we stopped/ what we saw on our sailing: Day 1: Deception Island - a volcanic island - great hikes, a couple of penguins, remnants of old whaling station - scene for attempting the polar plunge challenge - Day 2: Cuverville Island - home to penguin colonies (Gentoo penguins) - just amazing. I the afternoon we went zodiac cruising around amazing icebergs. And ethere were lots of whales Day 3: Ice floe landing (this is a flat iceberg which we got out onto to walk on whilst it was drifting) Day 4. Damoy Point - excellent hikes - great penguins - some people went snow shoeing (an optional excursion)...views over Port Lockroy, home to the British post office which is open for 3 months a year. Day 5. Orne Harbour on the mainland - an awesome (and tricky) hike to the summit brought us to a Chinstrap penguin colony Day 6 - kayaking (this was an optional excursion) in Wilhelmina Bay - and it was amazing - paddling past icebergs, underneath glaciers and oars whacking into floating lumps of ice. Plus we passed a shipwreck of an old whaling ship. We also did some amazing cruising throught the Lemaire Channel and Neumayer channel - both stunning with huge cliffs. And we sailed the most far south the ship has ever sailed to a huge ice sheet which stopped us in our tracks. The light was amazing every day in Antarctica and even in November there really wasn't any proper night time. Food on Midnatsol was also excellent. It's mainly buffets due to the itinerary, but with a couple of waiter-served three-course dinners. Because they can't pick up supplies en route, the food does, naturally, become a little repetitive, but the chef was extremely inventive and I have no complaints whatsoever. Some people went camping for the night on the continent. This was also an expensive optional extra and whilst I didn't do it (it cost $500) I was jealous afterwards of those who did. They camped under canvass in a remote spot (the ship left them there) and with lots of penguins and no civilsation around them. They didn't sleep (it was too cold apparently!) but what an experience - something to say you've done. There was also some entertainement on board - a few shows - a crew talent show / a crew fashion show/a quiz and some screeenings of films about Shackleton and some David Attenbourough nature documentaries. the crew was amazing too. I don't have a bad word to say. After the voyage we flew from Ushuaia to Santiago, Chile for an overnight in another very nice, well-located hotel.... It's a long journey to get to Antarctica, but it was well broken up and helped build the anticipation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Vantage Adventures booked it for me as a part on an Antarctica adventure. I have always wanted to see Antarctica and I didn't know anything about the Midnatsol before booking with Vantage. I looked the ship up on the internet and ... Read More
Vantage Adventures booked it for me as a part on an Antarctica adventure. I have always wanted to see Antarctica and I didn't know anything about the Midnatsol before booking with Vantage. I looked the ship up on the internet and downloaded the ship's passenger manual, which was very helpful in packing and planning my trip. The crew on the Midnatsol was attentive and did everything they could to make our adventure a wonderful experience. They familiarize themselves with the adventurers and attempted to meet all of our individual preferences in our cabins, the dining rooms, and the bars. The guides learned the adventurer's strengths and weaknesses and catered to our individual needs. We had 348 Adventurers on board and only 100 could be onshore at one time. They did a spectacular job of traffic control. Everyone got the shore time that they wanted, including the campers and swimmers. Excellent job Midnatsol! Our Vantage Adventures guide, Valerie Martin, from Buenos Aires, provided additional services to the 37 Vantage Advrnturers which enhanced our experience even more and personalized our experience because of her 16 previous trips to Antarctica! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This is a science cruise not a booze or casino cruise. The ship is well equipped for Southern Ocean sailing. Cabins are good and food excellent. The science crew offer landings, lectures and science experiments. Catering and hotel staff ... Read More
This is a science cruise not a booze or casino cruise. The ship is well equipped for Southern Ocean sailing. Cabins are good and food excellent. The science crew offer landings, lectures and science experiments. Catering and hotel staff excellent. It is strenuous. Don't go if you are not mobile and can't get in and out of ribs. There are no landing stages; your stepping onto ice, or sliding over the side of the ribs. It can be cold so take several layers. Drakes passage can be rough. If you suffer from severe seasickness, think twice about this trip. BUT, it is amazing and unforgettable.. Get a good camera with v. fast shutter speed. Listen to the photographers on board; go to the lecture. The whole trip went very smoothly. The company are moving about 500 people for embarkation so be patient; it all works. I travelled alone but met a whole bunch of friends and we shared experiences and drinks together. I wouldn't go again. Not because it wasn't fantastic. I'd be afraid at being disappointed Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Midnatsol Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 2.9
Public Rooms 3.0 4.4
Fitness & Recreation 1.0 N/A
Family 2.0 3.0
Shore Excursions 2.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 2.0 N/A
Service 3.0 4.2

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